Monday, August 30, 2010

Major Organizational Overhaul.

This weekend, and much of today, was spent doing some major organizing and sorting through Ava's clothing and toys. We were so incredibly fortunate that we were given a ton of things from different families that I worked for, so I sorted through clothes from now until size 6-7. Yep. And I would say that she's set completely through age 3, despite the fact that my shopaholic self would surely purchase some adorable things I can't say no to between now and then. I managed to get everything through 12month into one side of her walk-in closet, and then fancy 18M and 2T things splitting the other side...geeeeez.

We also came up with three bags of donations, as well as put all her clothing we're keeping just in case we decide to go round two (which we totally will, who am I kidding) into plastic storage bins for added preservation and protection.

Then, on top of all that, I used another plastic bin and put all of the toys that are at her level or just beyond into it so that she can crawl over to it and pull things out. She's been doing that with the toybox I made for her, but it can't hold nearly enough and has a lid that's hard for her to open, so this'll work better for us for the time being. She's also been getting into the cabinets in our entertainment center as well, where we stored video games, DVD's and the likes, so those have now been moved and have given way to board books and other baby-friendly items. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?

How do you make your home baby-friendly? What are ways in which you stay organized during these days of ever-changing sizes and developmental stages?

Great Cakes Soap Giveaway!

Interested in winning some great handmade soaps? Head on over to Adventures of the Domesticated Mama to enter her giveaway!!

Why We Don't Cry It Out.

Let me preface this post by saying a firm and sincere no judgment. I'm a firm believer in "to each their own", particularly when it comes to parenting. Who am I to tell you how best to best parent your child in your household with your (and their) unique needs? That type of thinking just doesn't do anyone any good, and is logically unsound.

Despite this, a lot of people (nope, not referencing any of my blog readers, but rather family members, friends, and mere acquaintances for that matter!) see fit to tell me why I should suck it up and move Ava to her bed rather than ours, leaving her to cry it out. Oh, the dreaded CIO. Whether you're for it, against it, considering it or undecided, everyone dreads the process. It's a biological fact that parents, mothers especially, cannot stand to hear their babies cry, so naturally crying it out is upsetting for everyone. However, it is particularly upsetting for me.

Now I'm not trying to call anyone out in this post, but I have particular issue with letting A cry it out, and I feel certain it's due in part to my own anxiety as opposed to hers. While sure, letting my baby cry herself to sleep sounds inherently unpleasant, let me explain a bit further what I mean.

My life has been tumultuous. While I am currently one of the most blessed, fortunate, happiest people I know, life has not always been kind to me. I was born to a teenage mother (though she is, and always has been, fantastic), which I mention here just to note that my father was not in the picture, and that my extended family - mainly my grandparents - played a larger-than-average role in my upbringing when I was very young. I spent a great deal of time living with both my mother and grandmother, and then, when I was five and off to Kindergarten, my mother moved about an hour and a half away to get a life established for us of our own. She sought job stability, a place for us to live, a decent school for me to attend, and all the things that any good mother would desire for her child. I do not blame her for this. Just the same, the best of intentions turned into years apart from my mother, despite her frequent visits, and while I am not trying to implicate her in any emotional scarring, the fear of abandonment runs deep in me. The pain of being away from my mother, even twenty plus years later, has created an almost phobic desire for me to prevent A from ever feeling anything even akin to that pain, and I firmly believe that this comes into play with my inability to support the CIO method in this household.

Yes, I know she won't be in therapy twenty years from now, weeping about the trauma of being left in her crib to fall asleep as an infant. In fact, chances are when she wakes up in the morning, she'll be all smiles, any remnants of trauma long gone. But the idea of leaving her alone in her room, wondering where I am and why I'm not coming for her, feeling abandoned, I just cannot do it.

And so, well-meaning relatives, friends, strangers, and the like, while I appreciate that your intentions are good, I'm not currently accepting unsolicited parenting advice. For now, letting Ava nap and sleep in our bed works for us. In fact, I've fallen into a pretty little routine of accomplishment and productivity during the mornings, followed by computer time to write/blog/online shop/whatever during her naps, and I'm feeling increasingly happy and fulfilled by this schedule.

And with that, happy Monday! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend, and continues to have an amazing week. Until tomorrow (or maybe later today, one can never be sure with me)...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Eight Months!

Oh my goodness, Ava is EIGHT months old today! She's grown by leaps and bounds this month, and is doing so much more than I ever expected she would at this age. Here's a bit of what she's up to:

-Ava weighs 19lbs even, and is over 28" long! Holy moly!!! Somehow, though, she's able to wear her 3-6 month onesies still, so perhaps she is short-torsoed and long-legged, since she needs the 12-month length pants! She's even wearing 12M PJ's!

-Ava eats (and eats and eats) so well! She's tried cauliflower, broccoli, tangerine, plums and blueberries this month (the last two may not have been this month), as well as jars of Earth's Best chicken, turkey and lentil mixtures (I cannot bring myself to puree meat either, A.Lee!!!) that we were given with some baby clothing a friend had outgrown. She's also started on a few table foods, eating cheerios, apple strawberry gerber puffs (which are too sticky once they mix with saliva/hands, so not quite a hit yet), banana and avocado chunks. She hasn't quite figured out the whole feeding herself thing, at least not since they stick to her hands like crazy, but she loves the textures if you give her a little help!

-She learned how to drink from a straw, how to wave bye-bye and how to clap this month, and also says "mama" and "baba" with consistency now. "Mama" she likes to reserve for when she's fussing and wants me, "baba" is constant, and sometimes almost seems directed at her binky, which we sometimes call "baba". D is a bit hurt that she hasn't decided to say "dada" yet, but it's only a matter of time now...

-A can crawl SO fast. I'm talking super lightning speed from one side of the room to the other, tummy well off the ground. Yikes! This has made for a big month of babyproofing, including new baby gates, corner and edge guards for the coffee table, outlet plugs, and - if we can get our act together - cabinet latches soon. We've also purchased a flat screen TV lock, but I need D to install it (I do everything around here EXCEPT hardward installation - sorry buddy, but you're it!), so hopefully he'll do that this weekend!

-A pulls to standing on EVERYTHING, including now the wall. Yep, somehow she can get her balance well enough with her hands flat against the wall to pull to standing. The other day she actually let go and stood for about 5-10 seconds before falling. Mommy nearly had a heart attack. I give it 4-6 weeks before she's walking....holy crap!

-In honor of her eight-month birthday, A finally grew enough hair to put a bow in it! What. Up.

Happy weekend, and happy eight months, Ava!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

What To Do In Case Of A Break-In.

I *wish* that this was an informative post, but rather, I'm posing the question to you, dear readers.

Let me preface this post by saying that I do not live in the hood. In fact, I live in a shiny new subdivision where I bought my house brand new not even four years ago. So why, pray tell, are we having an issue with break-ins? The only thing I can tell you is that it can happen to anyone, which brings me to my post today.

Lately, there have been five homes in my small subdivision who have had their doors KICKED IN (who is brazen enough to go that route???) and have been robbed in broad daylight. There doesn't seem to be any pre-burglary casing, or anything like that. Their M.O. simply is to kick the door in, listen for an alarm or activity, and then load up.

In a nutshell, this scares the hell out of me.

I'm home a great deal with my new, reduced schedule. And a lot of that time is spent either putting A to sleep, or writing quietly while she sleeps. Upon first listen, a burglar could easily mistake the fact that we were home. So I ask - as I pondered quite terrified while in the shower this morning - what do you do if someone breaks in while you're home?

I've always been more than a little anti-gun. I'm definitely not a card-carrying member of the NRA. But, is it time to invest (safely, of course, and in a place where A could NEVER, EVER unlock it and where the ammo would be separately stashed). If you're going to store the gun in a place where it's unloaded and locked up separately, is it even going to do any good if, God forbid, one needs to use it?

Yes, we have a dog, but he's A.) outside, and B.) a major p-word. And yes, we're getting an alarm pronto. It just terrifies me to think that someone could break-in while we're home, and I have no way of defending my daughter or myself. Even if I were to hide, how does one hide with an increasingly vocal baby?

ALL opinions, NRA included, welcome :)

Welcome, new followers!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Halloween Costume.

First off, I've changed my Twitter name (handle?) to @unexpexpectbaby to go along with my blog name, obvs. The other name still exists, but will be used purely to promote my Gather content, as I realize how annoying that is sometimes....sorry!

Second, here's a MEGA dose of cuteness in the form of Ava trying on her Halloween costume - can't wait to trick or treat with this little bumblebee:

Monday, August 23, 2010

CSN Stores Product Review Forthcoming!

Y'all, I am SO excited. While my blog was started as a way to keep out-of-state family and friends up-to-date on little Baby B (now known as Ava...), it's turned into so much more. It's cathartic, as in my ability to vent to an objective audience from different backgrounds with different viewpoints on things like whether or not we'll ever get married (remains to be seen). It's connected me with an invaluable audience of smart, talented, wonderful women to share this journey through parenting and motherhood with, which is indescribably HUGE for me, seeing as how I have very few friends in this baby-having stage with me. AND it's given me the opportunity to review some great products, and in some cases, pass them along to you all as well as a thank you for all you do for me, which brings me to my next order or business!

In the next week or so, I'll be connecting with CSN stores to do a review of one of their many products. If you haven't heard of CSN stores, a.) I'd be shocked, and b.) here's what you need to know:

CSN has over 200 online stores, where you can find anything from baby items (always helpful for us mamas!) to dining room sets to garden accessories!

What are you waiting for? Hop on over to CSN Stores and start shopping now!

Playing Catch Up.

I have been both a neglectful blogger and commenter the past week and a half, so I'm working to remedy that today. Sorry!

The girls started school this morning, and seeing as how I'm already working on a reduced schedule and their mom wanted to pick them up on their first day, I'm off and hanging out at home with little A. This morning we went to Kids N' Play - an awesome little inflatable kid land - with my moms group. This is the second time we've been, and Ava loves it! I was worried she was too little for it, but they have all these little gym type things for climbing, and her motor skills are such that she can really play on them. Check it out:

Thankfully she came home and hit the hay, since she hasn't been napping well after having taken a dive off the bed. Here's our makeshift nap situation until I figure out something better and/or get her into her crib for naptime:

I swear we're the only non college students still rocking a futon (in our defense, it's in the upstairs living area - downstairs we have a really nice sectional!!)

Though not ideal, take a look at our other option:

Hahaha - she cracks me up.

I once read a theory about how SIDS may be caused by a build-up of toxic gases in baby mattresses, citing evidence that children who sleep on used mattresses succumb to SIDS more often, so...well, until we get a *new* mattress, having been given one, she'll be napping on the futon. Whatevs.

Not much else to report. While I was sad for about...5 minutes...about the whole going part-time thing, so far, I LIKE. I'm in yoga pants and a bikini top, about to head to the pool with my baybay. Life is good!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Work or Play?

Tonight, seeing as how I'm now concerned about finances with me being part time, marks my first night of babysitting since little A graced us with her presence. While I'll freely admit that I was dreading having to revert back to babysitting nights and weekends, I must say that I'm finding this experience to be as rejuvenating as a spa day!

One of the two little ones is with her daddy for the weekend, so it's just me and the littlest one, a beautiful dark haired little cherub of a fifteen month old. Miracle of miracles she is already in bed, so I'm sitting in peace and quiet, reading, writing and playing with their iPad (hence the typos as I learn to work the keyboard). One could safely say this is one of the more relaxing money making experiences ever. Ahhh.

Perhaps this whole part time endeavor is not the end of the world?

After yesterday, I need a bit of a break as well. While in theory the day should have been fantastic, with me meeting up with a friend and her little one at the Alamo Drafthouse for Eat, Pray, Love and lunch, A was In rare form and drove me absolutely nuts the entire time. I'm talking a biting my shoulder, throwing herself backwards, head-butting little handful. I may have cried in frustration at one point - it was that bad. On top of that, Ava is crawling full speed ahead, and we need a quality baby gate like whoa, so I thankfully picked one up while we were out, one that we promptly returned today because it wouldn't fit with our crown moldings. Oh, life. Despite yesterday being my first day as a part-time SAHM, I ended up being out and about for over 7.5 hours. Yeesh!

Today was nice though, with D's parents coming into town for lunch at The Salt Lick and s quick bit of shopping at Hobby Lobby & Target. and now my "spa day"!

Hope everyone else is having a nice weekend so far!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Baby Houdini.

It's no secret that A sleeps in a bed, as opposed to a crib/playpen/more appropriate, baby-like setting. She nurses to sleep, and then sleeps in a big girl bed and always has (mainly out of necessity, seeing as how she naps at work as often as at home). Anyhow, yesterday when I went in to check on A, having a bad feeling, this is what I found:

Uh, where's my baby????

Oh, there she is:

I'm still puzzled as to how she pulled this off, seeing as how she didn't have a mark on her, and I never heard so much as a peep. My theory is that she rode the pillow down, but I know that's a stretch. Either way, where the hell is she supposed to nap now????

Thursday, August 19, 2010

In Homage To...

Today, bittersweet as it may be, is my last day of full-time work. Why I'm suddenly fighting tears, well, I'll let you see why for yourself:


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Time To Babyproof.

Can't you just imagine those pudgy little legs taking off and walking across the room? I would be seriously surprised if she doesn't walk in the next few months. Yikes!

And just because I thought they were so precious to include her:

Who Doesn't Love a Giveaway?!

Bummed about not winning my Boogie Wipes Giveaway?? Feel like winning something else?? Head on over to Lil Butterbean's blog to enter a giveaway for a $25 CSN gift card!

Consider yourself warned, though, that I am really wanting to win this one...

And The Winner Is...

This probably won't surprise anyone, seeing as how I'm a total space cadet sometimes, but I nearly forgot to draw the winner of the Boogie Wipes giveaway! Oops...

Anyhow, the lucky winner is #17, A. Lee!

Contact me at to redeem your prize! :)

On a side note, if you all want to feel like winners today, head over to my other (extremely neglected) blog to check out this hilarious video :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ladies, I Need Your Opinion!

We'll be back with our regularly scheduled posting tomorrow. In the meantime, there is an important matter I need you ALL to weigh in on.

Here's what happened:

The night before we left, we had a big family & friend gathering at the lake to BBQ so that everyone could meet Ava (and D) before we headed back to Texas. Thee were a lot of people there, some I knew, some I didn't, and my mom got to play the role of proud grandma (who could blame her?). Anyhow, my grandma and grandpa were in attendance (of course).

Now I should tell you, anything that I ever learned about being clever and scheming and plotting, I learned from my grandmother. Well, scratch that. I may have learned a bit from my mom as well, but only because she learned it from my grandma.

About 20 minutes after their arrival, my grandma approached David and said, "I wantt o walk a lap around the lake, but they won't let me go alone. Would you mind walking with me?"

Being the oblivious family member I am, and clearly out of practice with regards to my grandma's trickster ways, I chimed in, "I'll go with you!" to which I was immediately shot down.

Somehow, and I'm still not sure how knowing the determination of this woman, D got out of it. He ended up disappearing with all the men, BBQ'ing and drinking beer away from all of us ladies, and that was that. Or so I thought.

Right as we were all getting ready to make our great escape and head home for the night, my grandma sought me out, pulling me to the side and directing my attention to an baggie in her pocket.

"Do you want this?" she asked me, eyebrows raised.

Upon inspection, I realized she was showing me a rather beautiful and sparkly wedding set.

"Do you mean figuratively, like do I want to get married ever?" I stupidly replied.

"No, I mean, do you want your great-great-great-grandma's wedding set?"

Whoa. Uh, considering I was unaware of it's existence before that second, I was caught off guard. I inspected it, growing increasingly aware of not only the sentimental value attached, but it's monetary value. Aside from the fact that I'm not a big fan of gold (though, I've since been told it's making quite the successful comeback), it's gorgeous. I mean, seriously beautiful. Not only that, but if finances were a barrier to us getting engaged, this would break down that barrier. And, it was clear that she'd been saving it for me, and for the man I deemed worthy enough to marry. In short, it's the ultimate family heirloom, and a symbol of my amazing bond with my grandmother, as well as her approval of my choice in D. Um, yes I want it. I didn't know it existed three short days ago, and now it's the only thing I want. Sigh.

Anyhow, D was onto her. I wasn't before that moment, but he was, and therefore dodging her like the plague. Long story short, she came over later that night, but he was "asleep", so she did what any good grandma up to no good would do. She slipped it into his pocket when we went to say our goodbyes the next morning, giving him a brief history of the keepsake while I took a (naive) bathroom break.

So now, D has my great-great-great grandma's ring, one that was so special it was saved for me.

So my question is: Was she out of line? Was a boundary crossed? The intent was not to put pressure on him, but rather to say, "Hey dude. You rock. We think you're good enough for the granddaughter we have wayyyyyyy up on a pedestal." It's the ultimate compliment. I'm afraid, however, he took it as the ultimate hint to hurry the hell up.

BTW - I should note. He knows I know about it, and he knows I want it in a this-wasn't-my-idea-but-you-best-take-that-ring type of way!

What do YOU think?

And PS - Is gold making a comeback???

Monday, August 16, 2010

Our California Vacation!

We're back, and boy did we have a great trip! It was, I'm almost ashamed to admit, D's first time to meet my family, with the exception of my mom, who came out both for my baby shower and also to meet Ava when she was a week old! Anyhow, I was nervous traveling with Ava, but she was AMAZING. I'm talking...just such a good girl!

She slept for an hour or so at takeoff, having been pulled out of bed at 5:45 (and this is my lazy baby who likes to sleep until ~9), but then was up and at 'em for the duration. She cooed, she played peekaboo, she charmed the pants off our seat mate. In short, I was stressed for nothing. From the airport we hopped directly into my mom's car and headed back on the road for the three plus hour trip up to the mountains where my family lives. A was a trooper for the drive as well, barring a bit of fussiness the last hour. She was SO ready to get out when we finally arrived at our destination, and SO WAS I!

We stayed with my aunt and uncle and four cousins (13, 11, 8.5 and 2), seeing as how they had the most room and also baby stuff so we could travel light, and this was an excellent choice. Definitely having access to a high chair/playyard/baby toys/bibs/etc was a lifesaver, and kept A on schedule better than she may have otherwise been. It was also great that she comes to work with me everyday, seeing as how she was around a ton of kids the entire time (not only my cousins, but my three little sisters - her aunts!).


After we settled in and A met her great-grandma (nana) and great-grandpa (papa), as well as her aunt, uncle and cousins, we let her take a little snooze while we got ready to head up to dinner with my parents and grandparents and let A meet her three aunts. They're 10, 9 & 6.5. Crazy, right? I was an only child until I was 16, when my mom and step-dad decided they wanted to start over again. Nutjobs.... ;)

Dinner was great, and we were able to spend some great one-on-one time with everyone and let them get to know A, who played happily on the floor with the girls, crawling everywhere and getting into everything!

The next day we went to Columbia, an old historic state park set up as a gold rush town. This place is pretty cool, though definitely smaller than I remembered, and all the buildings are either the original buildings or restored to their original condition.

We got some great pics there, and then headed into downtown for lunch at a Mexican restaurant. Mommy may have had a bit more to drink than she's had in a while, citing "vacation" as reason enough for midday booze, and may have cracked some inappropriate jokes in a children's toy store can't be sure :)

After we got back to my aunts for the afternoon, we went swimming and then took a slight nap until dinnertime rolled around, when we grilled some delicious BBQ chicken and sides. We were all exhausted from a combination of the time change, altitude and busy schedule, so we passed out early, ready for the next day!

Friday morning my dad came to get us and let us borrow the Yukon so I could take D around to do some exploring. I grew up in this teeny tiny town (until I was 13 when I hauled a$$ to Texas!), so I was eager to show him our old house, the school I went to, the lake, etc. We even managed to stop by and pay a visit to my best friend Katy's family, and managed to catch her brother, sister and sister-in-law as well! It was so great to see them and for them to get to meet D and Ava!!! an added bonus, Katy's mom makes seriously THE BEST chocolate chip cookies ever, so much so I hadn't had one in like 15+ years and still think about them, and she had some that she gladly let us take!!!! I'll admit I cheated on the dairy-free and ate some, and Ava hasn't reacted as of three days later!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!

After we left there, I took D and A for a walk on the stream that runs behind my house and stretches many miles each way, showing him where my grandpa taught me to fish, the fire station he used to work at (and I used to play at!), and all the "sights", and then we went to pay a visit to my grandparents.

That night was the big lakeside BBQ my mom had planned so that everyone could meet Ava at once, seeing as how our visits tend to be short ones, and so around 4:15 we headed out to the lake to meet up with everyone. A lot of my moms friends were there, as well as my entire family, and it was nice to get to sit and chat with them. The only major issue we ran into was that dinner wasn't ready until after 6:30 (8:30 our time) and A was starting to meltdown, which I knew would happen. Between that and being passed around, she was over it.

The next day was the trip back to the airport, and we stopped en route to see my best friend Katy and her boyfriend in Pleasanton, near where she lives. It was so great to see her - it'd been nearly FOUR years!!!!!! We miss you, Auntie Katy!

All in all, we had a great time, barring the transportation time. I just HATE the drive that follows/precedes a long flight - we end up traveling about 9 hours each way AT LEAST, and that's just...insane. Hopefully we'll see them soon in Austin!!!!!
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